Thursday, August 18, 2011
Keith Marshall tops South's undecided
By Jamie Newberg ESPN Recruiting
There are more commitments than ever in the college football recruiting game, and that includes the ESPNU 150. Presently, 99 of our 150 have made their decisions, leaving 51 of the nation's top prospects uncommitted. Here's a closer look at some of the top recruits from the states of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina who have not made their decisions.
Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 6
No. 1 RB
Marshall has lined up three official visits -- Georgia (Sept. 9), Notre Dame (Oct. 21) and Florida (Nov. 25). In an email, he said he would take all five official visits. At this point, Marshall's top 12 are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Stanford and USC. He could cut that list in half in the next week or so. Marshall's plan is to announce at the Under Armour All-America Game in January.
Kwon Alexander was ranked as the No. 1 linebacker in the class of 2012 and will compete for a staring job.
Kwon Alexander (Oxford, Ala./Oxford)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 15
No. 1 OLB
Alexander said via text that he has narrowed his school favorites down to seven programs -- Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Oregon, LSU and Miami. Alexander has not set up any official visits but is in the process of setting up one to Oregon. The Tide could be tough to beat here. That seems to be how things appear now.
Landon Collins (Geismar, La./Dutchtown)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 19
No. 3 S
It's no secret that the front-runners for this super safety from the Bayou State are the home-state Tigers and the Crimson Tide. Collins visited both schools this summer, and you can bet he will be on the campuses in Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa again this fall, including for the LSU/Alabama game in November. Collins could also visit Florida, Texas and perhaps Tennessee. Right now everyone is chasing the Tigers and Tide. If there's a sleeper, it's the Longhorns.
Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 23
No. 3 OLB
This summer, Harvey-Clemons visited only Florida State and Florida. Look for him to take in the Oklahoma/FSU game next month. He said in a text message this week he was still wide open. Georgia, FSU, Auburn, Clemson and Florida are five teams to watch with Harvey-Clemons. Expect him to take his official visits after the season. Keep a close eye on the Seminoles with this one.
Quay Evans (Morton, Miss./Morton)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 33
No. 3 DT
Don't expect Evans to make his decision anytime soon, at least according to his coach, Miles Porter. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Alabama, LSU, USC and Auburn are the schools he's focusing on right now. "There are tons more that want him but those are the ones he really likes," Porter said. "He likes it at Alabama. He likes it at Mississippi State. He likes it at some of the other places that he has visited. But we will handle all the visits much later. Right now I not going to pressure him about a decision. That's his to make."
Jordan Jenkins is expected to make his decision in December or January.
Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 63
No. 5 DE
In a text message Wednesday, Jenkins gave his top four schools in order -- Alabama, Florida, Auburn and Georgia. The Crimson Tide and Gators have been going back and forth for a while for that top spot, and it could very well come down to those two. But keep a close eye on the national champs. The Tigers are making their move for this outstanding defensive end prospect. At this time, Jenkins has not set any official visits. He expects to make his decision in December or January.
Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga./Buford)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 74
No. 3 OG
It appears that three schools at this point will get official visits from Alexander -- LSU, Alabama, and Auburn. He might visit Miami officially and has recently said that his fifth and final visit could go to Texas, USC or North Carolina. Alexander is from the Bayou State, so LSU could be the team to beat.
Caleb Peterson (Auburn, Ala./Auburn)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 76
No. 4 OG
Peterson visited Auburn last Wednesday and Southern Miss last weekend. He is going to stop by Alabama this weekend for an unofficial visit. So far Peterson has lined up one official visit, and that's to Stanford (Sept. 30). Right now he's still considering a host of schools, including Southern Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Stanford, Louisville, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Duke.
Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, N.C./Crest)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 82
No. 10 DE
Bullard said via text message that he will take an unofficial visit to the Gators this weekend. He has also set up a lone official visit, to Nebraska (Oct. 7). At this time, Bullard is still considering Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Nebraska, Alabama, Auburn and Miami.
Channing Ward (Aberdeen, Miss./Aberdeen)
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 93
No. 11 DE
Ward favors five schools -- Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama and Auburn. He also would like to check out the Georgia Bulldogs. Ward could wait and make his decision after the season. This could be shaping up to be an in-state battle between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Ward's brother is a walk-on in Oxford.
Saturday decision for Buchanan
Three-star cornerback Ray Buchanan Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) plans to make his decision Saturday between Arkansas and Ole Miss. Buchanan has already visited the Rebels in Oxford, and Fayetteville awaits.
Does that give Houston Nutt and Ole Miss an advantage?
Not necessarily. Buchanan has known Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino for a while, since his uncle, Bobby Buchanan, played for Petrino at Louisville. His father, Ray Buchanan, played for the Cardinals as well. In the NFL he played for the Colts, Raiders and Falcons.
There has been no time set for Ray Jr.'s announcement, according to his father. His high school team, Peachtree Ridge, takes on Marietta (Ga.) Walton in the Corky Kell Classic at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Georgia Dome. It's likely Buchanan will make his decision sometime before the game.
Bush likes four
Deon Bush (Miami/Columbus) is one of the nation's top safety prospects. Right now he favors four schools: Miami, Alabama, Auburn and Florida State.
"I don't think they are necessarily in that order," said Chris Merritt, coach at Columbus High School. "And those are the four schools that he has seen."
Bush visited both Alabama and Auburn this summer. He took a trip to Tallahassee to see the Seminoles in the spring and attended a junior day at the University of Miami.
Bush, 6-foot-1 and 177 pounds, is ranked as the No. 66 prospect in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 5 safety in the country.
Two more big ones off the board
Two potential ESPNU 150 recruits for next season are now off the market, as safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and linebacker Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) both made their decisions. Matthews committed to Georgia on Saturday, while Johnson made his pledge to Auburn on Monday. The Bulldogs now have four commitments for their 2013 class, while the Tigers have two.
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.